I'm not so punk that I won't admit I love classic heavy metal. I was a metal freak before I stuck the anarchy button to my lapel. Oddly enough, I never dug the punk metal hybrid very much. I could grok the Black Flag channeling Sabbath vibe of My War, but Corrosion Of Conformity syle rock never impressed me much. What sort of metal did I like? I'm not super choosy. Give me the dark and ominous Black Sabbath. I'll take some Van Halen L.A. metal scene. Crank up the Nuge. Play some Dungeons & Dragons with Dio. Drink lots of brew whilst rocking out with Motorhead. Rock and roll all night and party all day with KISS.
I'll easily admit that the heavy metal culture can be filled with total idiots. Just watch the trailer from the legendary Heavy Metal Parking Lot than view American Hi-Fi's wonderful homage to it. Denim and leather isn't exactly my style. But the sometimes cringeworthy stupidity is part of its appeal to me. It takes just a few steps from throwing your fists into the air at an Accept concert to running around in a mosh pit to a hardcore punk act. It's all such a good soundtrack to teenage angst and pent up aggression.
I'm far removed from those days yet I still like the stuff. I even have the fun of discovering acts like Skid Row that I never listened to on their first go around because back then I was too smug and into indie rock and bossa nova. I know it may be suspect: this dude pushing 40 throwing the heavy metal sign out as he pogos across the living room to Diary Of A Madman, but it's fun. Big goofy fun. I think back to that particular Ozzy record and how I would stare at the weird runes on the cover and wonder about the secrets contained in it. I took it all so serious then. Which makes me laugh at myself all these years later. The joy I get from metal may have changed, but there's a love for the oft-maligned genre that will never dim.
If you missed out on metal back in the day or just want to expand your musical horizon beyond the latest Bright Eyes release try these albums on for size. They always do the trick for me.
Motorhead - Iron Fist "the devil's grip the iron fist" what rebellious kid wouldn't like lyrics like those along with songs about taking speed and scoring with American girls cruising around in their daddy's Pontiac. Iron Fist is just classic proto-thrash metal.
Van Halen - II C'mon, it has "Light Up The Sky", "D.O.A.", "Beautiful Girls", "Somebody Get Me A Doctor", and more! It's perfect pop metal crunch.
Black Sabbath - Master Of Reality That hacking cough, children and revolution, outer space, "Lord Of This World" scary, perverse, their best.
Ozzy Osbourne - Diary Of A Madman "You Can't Kill Rock And Roll" meant something to me when I was younger and it still resonates today. The flange effect by Rhoads in "Flying High Again" gives me little thrill pricks as always, "Little Dolls" get their skin pricked period, and what does "S.A.T.O." mean? Is it Sailing Across The Ocean, Ships At The Ocean, or Sharon Arden Thelma Osbourne. I lean toward the first one.
Megadeth - Peace Sells...But Who's Buying My old band The Dislocated used to play Megadeth songs at practice. "Wake Up Dead" and the title track were our faves, but I also dig the demonic "Conjuring" and "Devil's Island" rips and roars.
Slayer - Reign In Blood The ultimate slab of molten thrash metal featuring the moshpit middle of "Angel Of Death" through the hellish thump of "Raining Blood" never fails to stir the blood.